May 7, 2016

Jamestown, Virginia: A lesson in being a tourist



Our first visit should have been to Jamestown. Somehow we did things backwards.  I was so enamored with Williamsburg that I was a bit disappointed when we made it to the First Settlement. 

This is an oven for baking bread. Very similar to what I saw in Morocco.
Three ships arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, the Discovery, Godspeed, and Susan Constant. My companion had to remind me that the first settlers had to build from the ground up. It was nature that they had to contend with and at that point in time it was a bit more brutal in Virginia. They were going thru the Little Ice-Age. 


In truth, the houses were nicely built. They were wood frames which were filled in with sticks. The holes were filled with sticky wattle and daub (mud, clay, and grass mixture). The roof's were thatched, with dirt floors, and on the inside of a few of the houses the rooms were filled with elaborately hand carved furniture. But most were one room homes with a table, chairs, and bed with a straw mattress.  


Armour was also in every house.  It kind of reminded me of Vikings. One always has to be on guard. 


The last leg of our tour was visiting the ships. Even though we visited on a weekday the place was packed with children on field trips.  I expected Captain Jack Sparrow to make an appearance at any time. 


The interpreters were wonderful and spent a large amount of time explaining things to us. I learned how the compass works and where the term "knots" comes from when it comes to navigation. ( I should have taken notes) 


On the way in we talked at length to one of the interpreters. (Sadly, I didn't take a picture of her.)  She told us about the Powhatan Indians that were in the area and that Pocahontas belonged to the tribe. We were encouraged to touch the summer dress that she was making out of deer hide while she talked to us. The interpreter was a former school teacher and I felt that she was an invaluable asset to Jamestown because she passionately talked about the history of the area.  


I came away knowing more than when I went in.  Mission accomplished.